2/12/11: Hurtwood Trail Maintenance - November 2011
Following what has seemed a long period of inactivity, the Friends of the Hurtwood have revived the voluntary trail maintenance program on the key Hurtwood trails. Following a few informal meetings on BKB (Barry Knows Best, the trail from the reservoir to Peaslake) and at Peaslake, the maintenance crews have now had two sessions of digging on BKB.
The key focus at the moment is to repair the damage and clear the spoil from the Forestry Contractors’ work earlier in the year. The trail has also suffered from the increased volume of traffic (you'd be amazed at the number of bikes on these trails on any given Sunday), so efforts are being made to bring the trail back closer to its original line.
To achieve this involves an enormous number of man-hours to remove the ridges that form and trap water on the trail, dig out higher lines and redirect the line of focus, create better, longer lasting drainage channels and to clear the spoil left by Forestry that will migrate onto the trail over Winter.
The November session was attended by around fifteen volunteers, who all worked hard for a good four hours and managed to clear a good section of BKB, which throughout, was well received by those riding the trail (although it should be noted that the rider who helpfully suggested that 'digging should only be done at night!' will be more than welcome to come along and provide his obvious expertise in the matter).
After the session and the prerequisite backslapping, I pulled my bike out of the car to test ride the trail. The difference was notable and welcome. Where previously there had been a mud filled berm pushed tight up to a tree, there is now a flowing, dry corner. Holes that were appearing behind step roots had been armoured to prevent more erosion. Ridges and holes previously collecting water were drained and turned into pump bumps.
On the whole, a great day’s work. It also highlighted the need for other sections to be repaired, improved or completely redirected.
It's worth noting that, as previously mentioned, all of this work is carried out by volunteers, and although nobody other than the Ranger is paid by the Hurtwood, it takes an enormous amount of money to not only maintain the MTB trails, but also the entire area of the Hurtwood. Tools need to be supplied, materials moved, the car parks need to be maintained, fly tipping cleared etc.
Friends of the Hurtwood are a charity charged with the management of the public access to the land and rely on donations to secure funding that allows the Hurtwood to remain open to all.
If you're regularly riding the Hurtwood trails and have not yet become a member of the Friends, click here and take the opportunity to make your donation. It will go a long way to ensuring that this area will always be available for all to enjoy. And if you can spare a bit of time to help out with the maintenance, you'll be doing a lot to provide a better trail network for everyone.